Nearly 1.5 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year, reports the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. And according to the CDC, among the leading causes of TBIs are falls and motor vehicle accidents. Victims of accidents who suffer brain injuries often face tremendous financial expenses, not to mention severe physical and emotional damages. Victims and their families may recover compensation for these damages by filing a personal injury claim against the party responsible (also referred to as “liable” in a legal claim) for their injuries.
For help recovering damages, call a traumatic brain injury lawyer in Los Angeles today. Joshua Cohen Slatkin has helps TBI victims in Los Angeles recover the compensation they need to pay for TBI care, as well as other accident-related expenses. Schedule your consultation today: 310-923-7839.
How do TBIs affect victims’ lives and what damages can they recover?
Many TBIs have long-lasting effects. Those who sustain major brain injuries may require assistance with hygiene, feeding, and other activities of daily living, not to mention extensive medical treatment and surgery in many cases. Many need around-the-clock nursing care. A TBI can prevent victims from continuing to work temporarily or permanently, affect relationships with loved ones, and reduce victims’ quality of life. Even a minor TBI (concussion) can require medical care, missed time at work, and pain and suffering.
The lifetime costs of a TBI may range between $85,000 and $3 million, reports the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, though in many cases costs exceed these numbers. If you suffered a TBI and another party is partly or wholly responsible for the accident, such as during a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, construction accident, or while using a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation from the liable party via a brain injury claim.
TBI-related costs go beyond the medical expenses for hospitalization, medication, surgery, and rehabilitation. We compile and review your medical records, get testimony from medical and occupational experts, and evaluate other evidence that helps us identify of the financial, physical, and emotional effects of your injury. A TBI claim may seek compensation cover:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Current and future lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Other emotional and psychological damages relating to the loss of enjoyment of life following a TBI
- Loss of relationship
- And more
Who is responsible for my TBI and how do I prove it?
To recover compensation, you first need to determine who was responsible for the accident that caused your TBI. How you sustained the injury will determine the liable party. TBIs occur in many ways. According to the CDC:
- More than 40 percent occur in falls. The liable party in these cases may be a property owner who failed to correct a slip, trip, or fall hazard that led to your accident and subsequent brain injury.
- Almost 16 percent occur when an object strikes the victim’s head (e.g., falling debris at a construction site) or the victim strikes his or her head on something. If you sustained a TBI from falling debris at a construction site, the site owner may be liable. If you sustained a TBI after merchandise fell on you in a grocery store, the store owner may be liable.
- Over 14 percent occur in automobile accidents. The liable party in this case may be the driver who caused the accident.
Once we identify the responsible party(s), we need to establish why that party is liable, i.e., that the party acted carelessly or recklessly (referred to as “negligent” in legal claims) and caused your injuries. This requires investigating and case building. Evidence to prove negligence and link it to TBI victims’ injuries varies widely from case to case. It often includes police reports, eyewitness testimony, documentation of injuries, photo or video of the scene, and testimony from expert witnesses. Essentially, we need to prove that not only did your TBI happen in an accident on the defendant’s property or with the defendant’s car, but that the defendant is the one who caused the accident. This is called causation.
What if I was partially at-fault for the accident and my TBI?
Even if you contributed to your injuries, you may still be eligible for compensation. Under California’s pure comparative negligence law, you can recover compensation even if you were 99 percent at fault for the accident. However, your percentage of fault will decrease your settlement award, e.g., if you were 50% at fault, you would only be able to recover compensation for half of your damages.
Consider this: You or your loved one suffered a severe TBI in an accident that you say another party caused. Your medical bills alone are $300,000 and you do not know when you will be able to go back to work. You also deserve compensation for pain and suffering. You ask for $500,000 to cover your damages, but the insurance company says you were 50% at fault for your injuries. If the insurer succeeds in making this case, you will only recover $250,000. That leaves you with $50,000 in medical bills to pay yourself, not to mention no compensation for your lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
This is why it is important to do a full case investigation, collect all available evidence, work with expert witnesses, and build a strong and convincing case. Not only must you prove the defendant’s liability, you may have to fight any allegations of your own comparative negligence and contribution to the accident.
Call Joshua Cohen Slatkin for Help with Your TBI Claim
A TBI can affect every part of your life, from your physical and mental health, to your financial health, to your quality of life. But you do not have to go through the claims process alone. The Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin in Los Angeles can help you or your loved one get the compensation you need to cover all your expenses and losses.
Call us today at 310-923-7839 to schedule your free consultation.